Departures

Though I fortunately have a back log of stories to post, this week’s focus is short and simple. We usually write about the great adventures of travel, the unforeseen challenges, the humorous difficulties, the chance encounters, the romanticized nostalgias.  But we often overlook the most difficult hurtle: leaving.

I returned from two weeks in California on Monday night after a 16 hour car ride, only to sleep for a few hours, conduct a board meeting in Denver first thing Tuesday morning, pack a new bag and head for the airport to catch a red eye to New York City. I questioned this trip not just during those 24 hours, but during the month prior as well. Did I really want to leave again?  Could I stand another plane ride?  Should I be revisiting places before seeing unfamiliar lands?

Am I truly whining about such a 1st-world problem?

Yes, indeed I am.  And the questions grew tougher as I picked fresh tomatoes and basil for my pizza before flying out.  Didn’t I just want to stay at home and tend my beautiful garden?  Isn’t that what Candide finally recommended?

Departing for the next great adventure is rarely easy. When it comes down to it, spending the money, conducting the research, making the time, packing, finishing all the house-keeping chores that need to be finished before leaving, separating from our roots and our homebody tendencies: all of this most certainly causes a rather harsh disruption in our comfortable, routine selves.

But then I stepped into the subway of  good ‘ole New York.  I felt the pulse of commuters on their way to work.  I became consumed by the energy of humanity racing to start its day. I heard the sound of a saxophone echoing off the tiled walls of the station. I smelled the humid air of an east coast summer morning. I saw the Empire State Building. I tasted the sweet breath of travel.

No, departing is never easy.  It’s a pain in fact.  We resist, we fight, we sometimes even cancel plane tickets or our plans entirely.  But arriving.  Arriving is stimulating, addicting, stunning, raw. It’s as if for a moment we experience a rebirth and see the world for the first time all over again, instantly overwhelmed at the realization of how much beauty and tragedy surrounds us everyday, but how little of it we witness.

And after arriving, the trains, planes, automobiles, boats, and footsteps continue unfolding new worlds around every turn. So when departure threatens to keep us on the ground, remember the intoxication of these constant arrivals and step out your front door.

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About mlgray

Heading out on adventures, building community, eating delicious cuisines, supporting the local food movement and enjoying walks in the wild . . . grateful to be wandering in the world with you.
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